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Stunning new filtering plan contradicts its “Your World” marketing campaign

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson confirmed that the telecom and internet giant is “very interested” in a “technology based solution” to monitor data passing through its networks for rogue peer-to-peer traffic.

“It’s like being in a store and watching someone steal a DVD,” said Stephenson. “Do you act?”

Such a move would affect more than just AT&T’s subscribers, as the company’s network investments represent a sizable chunk of the internet’s backbone – which results in almost all Internet data passing through its network at some point. Given that AT&T has, so far, been pensive about the scope of such a project, many are assuming the worst.

More importantly, AT&T may forfeit its end of the deal in what Slate’s Tim Wu calls “the grand bargain of common carriage:” legal immunity from whatever claims might arise from data its network transports, in exchange for offering network service to anyone in a nondiscriminatory fashion. “AT&T's new strategy reverses that position and exposes it to so much potential liability that adopting it would arguably violate AT&T's fiduciary duty to its shareholders,” writes Wu.

In an absence of any official word on why AT&T wants to implement such a project, many people think that the primary motivator is an alarmed response to the growing percentage of traffic attributable to P2P activity; various surveys claim that anywhere from 30 to 90 percent of all internet traffic is P2P related. Lately, ISPs both large and small have been testing the waters with a variety of traffic-shaping initiatives, including Comcast, which last year found itself in the middle of a scandal over how it handles BitTorrent traffic.

According to AT&T – as well as anecdotal reports and commentary from other ISP employees – Internet users should expect a more managed Internet experience in the near future, as technology is finally becoming sophisticated enough to allow for such large-scale projects.

“We recognize we are not there yet but there are a lot of promising technologies,” said AT&T executive James Cicconi, “but we are having an open discussion with a number of content companies … to try to explore various technologies that are out there.”

If anyone has the expertise to deploy such a large filtering project, it would be AT&T: the company was already caught red-handed with powerful data-mining hardware, which it used to gather information on the nation’s web traffic for the NSA.

“The volume of peer-to-peer traffic online, dominated by copyrighted materials, is overwhelming. That clearly should not be an acceptable, continuing status,” said NBC Universal’s general counsel, Rick Cotton. “The question is how we collectively collaborate to address this.”

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Just an Excuse
By Xodus Maximus on 1/26/2008 2:43:50 PM , Rating: 5
ATT and other companies are trying to stop P2P Phone services like Skype and TV like the new Joost. All these "ISPs" also provide other services, they would do themselves a disservice if customers bought only one thing from them, when they could be buying 5 different services.

Calling P2P illegal only is convenient in getting the idiot masses to submit to their demands, because they feel guilty for watching the occasional show they missed on TV via BitTorrent.

Its no different then the marketing campaign that compares "piracy" to stealing a car, its mainly targeted at morons with weak moral compasses, so that they can be controlled like the uninformed lumps of meat they are.

RE: Just an Excuse
By Jack Ripoff on 1/26/2008 3:28:08 PM , Rating: 3
It's no different than this:

RE: Just an Excuse
By DigitalFreak on 1/26/2008 7:14:07 PM , Rating: 1
Oh man, that's priceless! Is that really a slogan from WWII?

RE: Just an Excuse
By vanka on 1/26/2008 8:30:45 PM , Rating: 3
In defense of the WWII poster; the US was involved in a very costly war at that time. Resources were very tight and most of the industrial capacity of the country was geared toward producing the material/supplies/products necessary for the troops. Many household items that we take for granted today were strictly rationed during this period. In my opinion the ad was probably justified because if no one carpooled they would use 3-5 times more oil-derived fuel; fuel that could have been used in the war effort. So in a way by not carpooling you were aiding and abetting Hitler.

That's not to say that I agree with the current scare campaigns waged by the RIAA and MPAA. Today we hear outright lies from these two to help line their already heavy pockets and to preserve their antiquated business model.

RE: Just an Excuse
By Xodus Maximus on 1/27/2008 12:15:04 AM , Rating: 2
nice find, I had never seen that before, thanks

Yeah, you can say that the poster had an excuse and I don't disagree or agree with it. Just for argument's sake I believe that if people want to do something they should, then live with the consequences, using this type of propaganda, even for the greater good is wrong. But in reality because of the inherent fault of human society, when someone something it affects others, and you don't have time to rationally explain to all individually. So you are forced to use a simple message that the lowest and those above them will understand and agree to. If I existed back in WWII and my interests were vested as such I would probably use something similar.

And so if I was a billionaire with a lot of interest in making more money for my company I would choose the tactics of the RIAA, MPAA, AT&T, and other four letter companies. Okay, maybe I would still try to do the right thing, but thats why Im not a billionaire, or even a big thousandaire ;)

RE: Just an Excuse
By masher2 on 1/27/2008 1:02:18 AM , Rating: 2
Here's one you'll like even more:

RE: Just an Excuse
By Christopher1 on 2/1/2008 1:19:38 AM , Rating: 1
And it turns out that we were doing the EXACT same things to our prisoners during World War II, executing them and leaving their bodies to rot where they laid..... that's the thing about propaganda..... your government is usually doing the exact SAME THING that they are getting on the other country for doing!

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